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The menopause is just another stage in life for many women and despite the side effects is often a welcome one as it means the end of periods and potential pregnancy. However, it isn’t something that happens overnight and for some women, it causes no end of problems with symptoms like hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats, low libido and more which can seriously harm their ability to lead a normal life. Many women who are suffering turn to Hormone Replacement Therapies to help them. There are a wide variety available in several different forms, from pills to patches to topical creams, and finding the right one can be a process of trial and error. On the plus side once you’ve found it you should hopefully feel able to cope with whatever life throws at you.
What is Estradot?
Estradot is a type of Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT.
When you go through the menopause your ovaries stop producing eggs and this causes a drop in the levels of the hormone oestrogen in your body.
Estradot contains the active ingredient estradiol hemihydrate, a substitute for oestrogen.
Estradot comes in the form of a transdermal patch – this means patch that you apply to the body below the waistline which gradually releases the hormone into your body.
When is Estradot used?
Estradot is used by women who are postmenopausal, so in the later stages of menopause. You must have had at least 12 months since your last period.
It is used to relieve the symptoms of menopause such as:
- hot flushes
- mood swings
- low libido
- night sweats
- joint pain or stiffness
- vaginal dryness
- difficult sleeping
- reduced muscle mass
Estradot is also used to prevent the onset of osteoporosis in women who are more prone to fractures if other medicines are deemed unsuitable.
How do you use Estradot?
Estradot comes as a transdermal patch, you change the patch twice a week.
To apply the patch:
- Decide where you are going to place the patch, on the torso, below the waistline where it is unlikely to be rubbed by clothing etc.
- Make sure your skin in that area is clean dry and cool;
- Remove the patch from its individual protective pouch;
- Peel off one side of the protective backing, avoid touching the sticky side with your fingers;
- Hold the side with the backing and press the sticky side firmly onto your skin, in the desired area;
- Fold back the remainder of the patch and pull off the other piece of protective backing;
- Press the patch firmly onto your skin for 10 seconds;
- Check that it is firmly stuck around the edges;
- You can now carry on as normal, shower, swim, run etc. and the patch should stay firmly in place;
- When is it time to remove the patch and change it, fold it in half with the sticky sides together so that none of the remaining medicine escapes, and dispose of it in your normal rubbish;
- Apply the next patch in a different location to minimise the risk of skin irritation.
What dosages are there?
As with all medicines, you should follow the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist when it comes to the right dose for you.
Estradot patches come in several different doses:
- 25 micrograms;
- 37.5 micrograms;
- 50 micrograms;
- 75 micrograms;
- 100 micrograms.
The numbers refer to the amount of estradiol that is released into your body. Your doctor will decide which dose you will start with. The guidelines for all HRTs is to take the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time in order to relieve your symptoms.
No matter what dose patch you are using the cycle is the same.
- Change your patch twice weekly (every 3-4 days);
- Try to change them on the same two days of the week, it will be easier to remember if you follow a regular schedule;
- Wear the patch continuously until it is time to change it;
- Change the location of the patch each time you change it so your skin does not become irritated;
- If a patch comes off before it should, simply replace it with a new patch and then change that one on your usual day;
- If you still have a uterus you will also be prescribed a hormone called progesterone to take while using Estradot patches.
What are the side effects of Estradot?
As with all medication, Estradot comes with a warning of some side effects, not everyone who uses Estradot patches will experience them.
The following diseases have been reported more often in women using HRT compared to women not using HRT:
- Breast cancer;
- Ovarian cancer;
- Cancer of the lining of the womb or abnormal growth in the womb;
- Blood clots;
- Loss of memory;
- Heart disease.
If you experience any of the following while using Estradot patches stop using them and seek immediate medical assistance as they could be serious:
- Breathing issues;
- Painful swelling and redness on your legs;
- Sudden chest pain or chest pain that spreads to your arm or neck;
- Migraine-type headaches with no apparent cause;
- Painful periods;
- Unexpected vaginal bleeding or spotting if you have been using Estradot for a while (it is normal in the first few months);
- Changes in your breasts, dimpling, lumps, changes to the nipples.
Very common side effects (may affect more than 1 in 10 women):
- Skin reactions;
- Period pains;
- Skin pigmentation;
- Breast pain.
Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 women)
- Mood changes;
- Abdominal pain;
- Heavy periods;
- Feeling bloated;
- Dry skin;
- Vaginal discharge;
- Sever uterine contractions;
- Vaginal inflammation;
- Abnormal growth of the womb lining;
- Fluid retention in hands and feet;
- Weight loss or gain;
- Irregular vaginal bleeding.
Uncommon side effects (may affect up to 1 in 100 women)
- High blood pressure;
- Skin discolouration;
- Impaired liver function tests.
Rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 1,000 women)
- Blood clot;
- Hair loss;
- Changes in libido;
- Allergic reaction;
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet;
- Small growths in the neck of the womb;
- Cysts close to the uterine tubes;
- Benign muscle growth in the uterus.
Very Rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10,000 women)
- Serious allergic reaction;
- Involuntary movements of head, eyes or neck;
- Severe skin lesions;
- Contact lens discomfort;
- Excessive hair growth;
- Decreased tolerance to carbohydrates;
When shouldn’t you use Estradot?
If you have or have ever had any of the following then you should not use Estradot:
- excessive thickening of the womb lining
- a history of having a blood clot in a vein
- inflammation of a vein just under the skin
- breast cancer
- any cancer sensitive to oestrogens (for example, cancer of the womb lining)
- a blood clotting disorder
- unexplained vaginal bleeding
- a recent disease caused by blood clots in the arteries like a recent heart attack, stroke or angina
- a rare blood problem called porphyria
- liver or renal disease
- if you are allergic to estradiol or any of the other ingredients listed on the packet
If any of the conditions above appear for the first time while using Estradot, stop using the patches and contact your doctor immediately.
If you have ever had any of the conditions in the list below discuss this in detail with a doctor before you start using Estradot as you will likely need more frequent check-ups during your treatment.
- Increased risk of developing blood clots;
- Increased risk of getting oestrogen-sensitive cancer;
- Growth of the womb lining outside your womb;
- High blood pressure;
- Hereditary angioedema;
- Fibroids inside your womb;
- A history of excessive growth of the womb lining;
- Fluid retention due to cardiac or kidney problems;
- A disease of the immune system that affects many organs in the body (systemic lupus);
- A disease affecting the eardrum and hearing;
- A very high level of fat in your blood;
- Migraine or severe headaches.
Does Estradot interact with other medications?
Always tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication when you are discussing a new treatment. This includes over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements as they can interfere with other medicines and cause problems or lessen the effectiveness of your treatment.
Some examples of medication that may interfere with Estradot:
- Medicines for tuberculosis;
- Medicines for epilepsy;
- Medicines for HIV infection;
- Herbal remedies containing St John’s Wort;
- Other anti-infective medicines.
Where can you buy Estradot?
You can buy Estradot from pharmacies nationwide. Most pharmacies will stock it or can order it for you.
Can I get Estradot without a prescription?
No, you cannot buy Estradot without a prescription. HRT medication is only prescribed for women if the symptoms of menopause are seriously affecting their ability to lead a normal life. These types of medication come with serious side effects and your medical history or your family’s medical history can determine whether you are able to take any HRT or which kind of HRT you can take.
You will also need to have regular check-ups while using an HRT as the aim is to take the lowest possible dose of hormones for the shortest possible time to prevent the most serious side effects.
MediresourceInc (2020). Estradot - Uses, Side Effects, Interactions - Canoe.com. Chealth.canoe.com. Accessed 7 Feb. 2020, Available at: https://chealth.canoe.com/drug/getdrug/estradot
Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd (2019). Medicines.org.uk. Accessed 7 Feb. 2020, Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.3869.pdf
Payne, J. (2017). Menopause | Symptoms and Treatment. Accessed 8 Jan. 2020, Patient.info. Available at: https://patient.info/womens-health/menopause
Willacy, H. (2018). Hormone Replacement Therapy (Risks and Benefits). HRT. Patient.info. Accessed 8 Jan. 2020, Available at: https://patient.info/doctor/hormone-replacement-therapy-including-benefits-and-risks